From education to employment

Announcement from Summit Indicates Commitment to Language Training

The discerning and regular readers of FE News will be well aware of the importance that is attached to languages in the workplace.

The possession of language skills can be a significant marketing tool for the individual seeking employment or career advancement. Similarly, companies are better able to compete in a global marketplace with staff for whom the language barrier is low enough to step over rather than a ten foot tall wall with barbed wire at the top, guard dogs snarling on the ground and a minefield close by. Guard towers are manned with violent uncouth stubbly soldiers who scream at any company peeking over the top to get down.


Naturally, if the company is facing a ten foot wall with barbed wire at the top, guard dogs snarling on the ground and a minefield close by, they would be unable to understand the warnings and would be pulled back down only if the guard dogs dragged them down. Alternatively they would be blown in fifteen separate directions in the minefield and would then be stripped to their bones by other companies for whom the wall was a simple bump in the ground.

Thus ends the life story of a herbivorous company afraid of heights in a world built for the carnivore. Let us face it; it really is a dog eat dog world in terms of commercial competition. A company whose staff skills set leads to dabbing disinfectant in dog bites is unlikely to be the most profitable, and as such will hardly be likely to succeed in the international arena that global capitalism creates.

Wolf in Sheep Pen”¦

The summit of G8 Leaders saw the bulk of the world’s economic, industrial and political might gather in St. Petersburg and discuss today’s pressing developmental and political issues amidst the towering spires of the Romanov’s splendour of centuries past. One of the issues debated was the common approach to be taken towards education and development, and this is sure to receive less attention than it might otherwise following the violence in Israel and Lebanon.

The CILT, the National Centre for Languages, which is the Government’s recognised centre for the collation of expertise in languages, have called attention to the statement made from the Chair of the G8 meeting. The statement would appear to offer hope for those concerned that education was taking too much of a back seat, as it claims to intend to “promote modern effective education systems.”

The comments on language learning make for interesting reading, certainly. The comment from G8 reads: “We shall facilitate wider use of information and communication technologies, enhance standards in mathematics, science, technology and foreign languages, and support the engagement of highly qualified teachers in these critical areas.” The issue of consistency was addressed with the statement that G8 nations recognise that there is a need to “promote better understanding, recognition and transparency of foreign qualifications.”

The complete statement on education will be addressed in more length this weekend with FE’s Sunday Service. For the present, suffice to say that these are fine words and, if the deeds match these wonderfully soothing growls, then much will improve in international education, training, development and cooperation.

Jethro Marsh

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